The comeback fell short.
Down 21 at halftime to the Miami Heat on Friday night, the Chicago Bulls roared back to within four points several times in the fourth quarter but ran out of gas and ultimately picked up their 14th loss of the season.
In his Chicago homecoming, Dwyane Wade scored 10 points on an efficient 5-for-10 from the field, but it was ultimately the Josh Richardson show as the fourth-year guard scored a game-high 27 points (tied with Justin Holiday).
The losses are piling up for the Bulls right now, but that doesn’t mean the game last night was for naught. Here’s what we learned.
Bulls have been historically bad in second quarters
This stat is all Stephen Noh:
Understatement of the year right here. NBA's stats page goes back 22 seasons. Bulls have been the worst 2nd quarter team by net rating in their entire historical database— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) November 24, 2018
(give me a shout out if you use this stat please). https://t.co/cNwjT7o9Hi
The Heat outscored the Bulls 32-13 in the second frame to balloon their lead to 21 points at halftime. In that quarter, the Bulls shot 2-for-19 from the field (15.8 percent) and missed eight of their nine shot attempts in the paint.
If the Bulls just remained competitive in this quarter, they probably would have escaped with a win last night.
Arcidiacono Affects Winning (in a good way)
There was one Bulls starter last night who had a positive net rating.
If his name wasn’t in the header, would you have been able to guess that it was Ryan Arcidiacono?
The Villanova product had five points, five rebounds, and seven assists and played his usual gritty, cerebral style of basketball that has given the Bulls a jolt all season. According to 670’s Jeff Mangurten, he has also drained a 3-point field goal in 17 of his 18 games this season (he netted one of four last night) while shooting the long ball at a 44.9 percent clip.
It all adds up to the Bulls being almost 11 points better with him on the court offensively than when he sits out and five points better defensively when he’s on the court.
....And, he kind of threw up a giant middle finger to those who say he isn’t athletic with this impressive move in the fourth quarter:
LaVine is Tired
Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine may need work done on his back in April after carrying this team all season.
Last night against Miami, he put up a game-high 27 shots in 35 minutes of playing time. This season, he’s averaging 36.1 minutes per game and has a usage rate of 32.2 percent (second-highest in the NBA, minimum five games played) and has averaged 20.2 field goal attempts per game (again, second-highest in the NBA).
So, while the playing time in terms of minutes per game isn’t egregious (Jimmy Butler was averaging almost 39 minutes per game under Tom Thibodeau for two years straight), the work he does in those minutes is egregious.
It’s probably a combination of workload and opponents being able to load up to stop him because the Bulls don’t have a ton of other options offensively with all of their injuries, but LaVine’s numbers have quickly plateaued after his sizzling start to the season.
Zach LaVine— Morten Stig Jensen (@msjnba) November 24, 2018
First 11 games: 27.9 points, 8.3 FT/A, 35.1% 3PT, .602TS%
Last seven: 21.4 points, 5.0 FT/A, 19.4% 3PT, .456 TS%
This is why I didn't jump on the "Zach is underpaid" wagon. That first line was unsustainable. His true production is something in between the above two.
Lauri Markkanen is now taking some contact in practice and should be back pretty soon, so that will help lessen LaVine’s workload and hopefully help him find that efficiency again.